EPT Berlin: Day 1B, level 1 & 2 updates (blinds 75-150)

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2.20pm: Break time
That's the end of the level. Players are now taking a 15 minute break, 20 minutes of which will be spent getting in and out of the tournament room.

2.18pm: Bansi bashed
Praz Bansi is down to 18,500 after paying off PokerStars qualifier Marko Neumann
on the river of a T♦7♣5♥Q♠9♣ board. Bansi had check-called a 2,700 bet on the turn before calling another 4,550 on the river. Nuemann tabled T♣9♠ for a rivered two-pair. Bansi shook his head and mucked his cards. -- MC

2.16pm: Seb Ruth up to 60,000
Sebastian Ruthenberg has moved up to 60,000 after a ten minute spell, which also involved the elimination of Saab Rachad.

After some four-betting pre-flop Rachad's 22,000 chips went in on the 4♣J♣5♣ flop. Ruthenberg called, showing A♣K♦ to Rachad's pocket kings. The turn card Q♠ kept Rachad ahead but the 3♣ on the river gave the Team PokerStars Pro a club to make his flush.

That hand took the German to 50,000. Two subsequent hands leave him with 60,000 as the end of level approaches. - SB

2.14pm: Danzer dancing through the early levels
George Danzer likes to play - and you can take that in terms of aggressive style and level of enjoyment. When he's not actually in a hand he wears a broad grin across his face and when involved in a pot you're never quite sure what he's going to do next.

The hand started with a four-bet from Danzer in middle position who came back over the top of Dimitri Holdeew's three-bet with a raise to 3,800. Holdeew made the call pre-flop and then called again when Danzer c-bet 4,650 into the 8♥2♠4♣ flop. Danzer slowly checked the 3♦ turn, as did Holdeew.

The 8♦ paired the board and Danzer, already a little chipped up, slid in 40,000 in yellow chips. Holdeew didn't fold, not immediately anyway. Was Danzer running a huge bluff? Was he value shoving a turned straight or something larger? Holdeew decided to let go. Danzer raked in the pot to take himself up to 67,000, his wide smile instantly returning. -- RD

2.08pm: Heitman doubles
Team PokerStars Pro Jan Heitmann has more than doubled-up his dwindling stack. There was a raise to 375 that was called by one player, and Heitmann, before the cut-off raised to 1,450. The big blind called, as did the original raiser and first caller, before Heitman moved all-in for 8,525. The cut-off shoved behind to isolate and it worked, as all the other players folded, including the big blind who said he had queens.

Hetimann turned over A♥Q♣ to the cut-off's J♥J♦ and the board ran A♣T♥7♦9♠2♦. The German is back over 20,000 again now. -- MC


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Jan Heitmann is fighting back from a rocky start


2pm: Viktors the Victor
Viktors Caikins opened for 450 and Davidi Kitai called from the cut off. The flop came K♦4♥6♦.

While Kitai looks measured, controlled, exhausted, Caikins seems to ride on nervous energy, wasting no time in betting with "How do you like that?" resolve. He did that with the 800 bet on the flop and the 1,350 on the T♥ turn, ignoring, unlike Kitai, the blank faced camera crew lumbering past, forcing everyone to breathe in.

Through all this Kitai looked to be decoding a puzzle in his head. He called Caikins's turn bet, looking at him, just as Caikins was looking back. They both allowed a "no hard feelings" grin to flicker across their faces, then watched the river come 6♣.

Caikins got an immediate headache, or at least appeared to, rubbing his forehead and gritting his teeth. What with this new pain, his best option seemed to be to check. Kitai did the same, folding though when Caikins showed A♦Q♥. -- SB

1.56pm: Get the drinks in, Matt
Matt Affleck is suffering from jet-lag, having flown in from the United States yesterday, and woke up at the crack of dawn today, unable to get back to sleep. He said he'll be fine and struggle through the day.

He went up to the bar to buy some water and his table mate Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier shouted over to him to get the drinks in. Affleck pleaded that the prospect of drinking would be a disaster for him but ElkY seemed to know that and was giggling away trying to convince him.

When Affleck returned with a bottle of water ElkY pointed out that he should've got the beer in, as it's half the price of the water. -- MC

1.50pm: Kudos to Moreia
Tome Moreia should be applauded for his conduct. The Portuguese player is down to less than 1,000 after getting it in with middle set to Gert Zumkehr and losing on the river for a 60,000 pot.

Moreia had bet 2,700 from the button on a K♥T♣8♥ flop with middle set and Zumkehr instantly moved all-in for 29,000. Moreia, who had made the longest most painful looking fold I'd ever seen at EPT Snowfest, looked a bit aggrieved at the shove but quickly made the call. Zumkehr held 7♥9♥ for a monster draw but Moreira was still looking good for the win. A paired board would have been appreciated though.

The 3♣ turn was a blank but the 6♦ river certainly wasn't. Moreia kept quiet. He didn't bang the table, he didn't cry. He pushed his chips forward and let the dealer chop them out. On the etiquette stakes he's a winner. -- RD

1.40pm: Action hands
PokerStars qualifier Stefan Schulze has lost half of his stack but could've lost a lot more.

The hand started when Max Pescatori raised to 350 from under-the-gun and Matt Affleck called from the next seat, before Schulze three-bet to 1,025 from one more seat along. Vasily Kurdin then entered the fray with a four-bet to 2,100 from the hijack. The action was folded back around to Schulze, who called.

The flop came 2♠6♠K♣ and Schulze check-raised Kurdin's 4,400 c-bet up to 12,000 after a lot of thought. Kurdin didn't think long before calling to the J♣ turn. Schulze checked again but only called when his opponent bet 6,000. The river came 2♦ and the action slowed even more as both players checked. Kurdin tabled A♥A♣ and took the pot as Schulze tabled A♠K♣. -- MC

1.30pm: From my cold hand...
In scenes we've grown happily familiar with; Fatima Moreira de Melo is smiling her way through the first levels. If anyone encapsulates the joy of simply sitting down to play a game of poker it is Moreira de Melo.

Oddly though she's wearing one leopard-skin-patterned glove, covering her right hand.

"I'm cold," she explained, wearing a short sleeved blouse.

Just on one side?

"I can't riffle with two..."

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A two-gloved Fatima Moreira de Melo earlier, finding it impossible to riffle

Fair point. She then said she'd switch sides later, making sure I understood she wouldn't use the same glove, but that she had the left hand glove in her bag. - SB

1.22pm: Ainsworth gets away cheap
On the river of a 5♦7♣7♠J♥K♠ board Boris Becker had tossed in a 3,000 bet. Jude Ainsworth was the player left debating his options. He didn't wait too long before making the call with ace-king. Becker showed K♠K♦ for a full house. -- RD


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Jude Ainsworth: the face behind j.thaddeus


LEVEL UP: BLINDS 75-150


1.15pm: Miserable Mitchell
Scanning the top floor to find some more names, one face stood out, simply because it looked plain miserable. It was Jamie Mitchell's visage and, to be fair to him, he has good reason to look a little dismayed.

Table draws are so important and Mitchell has certainly been sucked out on in this respect. To his right he has Ramzi Jelassi, a tough Swedish player with over a million in live tournament winnings. To his left he has Jake Cody, an EPT and WPT winner with $1.8 million live beans counted.

It's pretty far from being the best seat in the house. -- RD

1.11pm: Nice start again for De Visscher
Koen de Visscher came third at EPT Snowfest a couple of weeks ago and he's carried his fine form here to Berlin. He just knocked out a player at his table after hitting quads.

The board was out as Q♠7♣2♣8♠2♥ and when a player led into him for 5,700 he moved all-in for around the 25,000. His opponent called quickly but soon saw the bad news as De Visscher tabled 2♦2♠. His cards soon found the muck and after a count of his stack revealed he was out. He darted from the Casino very quickly. -- MC

1.05pm: Palovic out
Dag Palovic is out. It revolved around his pocket aces and a set of nines. Little more needs to be said about the Team PokerStars Pro's demise. -- RD

1pm: Also playing today
Missed on the first walk through, but now firmly in place for the day, are Annette Obrestad (about to have her patch removed), Sebastian Ruthenberg, Christophe de Meulder, Davidi Kitai and Dario Minieri.

The Italian Team PokerStars Pro is at Ruthenberg's table. You get the impression that Minieri takes his seat already in a mental playing zone, the world blanked by precision headphones, blinkered by a floppy fringe. He announces his bets verbally; he plays lots of hands. And if he doesn't, stick around, he'll play the next.

The count so far today is 451 players. "At least 451," said the person whose job it is to confirm these things. That's a good deal more than yesterday. We'll have the actual figure once it's official. -- SB

12.52pm: The camera crews sigh
I'm not sure that the camera crews surrounding Boris Becker have been to a poker tournament before. They look like they're desperately waiting for something dramatic to happen right now. After a couple of hours of folding they might cotton onto the fact that poker just doesn't work the same way as tennis.

An early position raise to 275 was called by Becker on the button. The cameras and boom mikes inched closer, red lights glowing. A continuation bet of 550 was flung into the K♠6♥T♥ flop. The crews shuffled a little closer. Becker looked down at his cards, looked at his opponent, and passed. The crews, deflated, took a step back. It could be a long learning experience for them. -- RD


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Boris Becker showing his best side to the cameras


12.47pm: MacPhee versus the nearly man
PokerStars qualifier Kevin MacPhee is sitting two seats to the left of EPT Snowfest runner-up Kevin Vandersmissen and the top just tangled.

The turn had been dealt and the board read 9♠3♥Q♦6♠. MacPhee was in the big blind and he check-called an 850 bet to see the 2♦ river. There was 2,550 in the pot by now and when MacPhee checked again he faced a 3,600 bet from Vandersmissen. He thought for a while and threw in the calling chips but mucked upon seeing the Belgian's K♥K♦.

That pot evened both of their stacks up at 30,000, which is what they started with. -- MC

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The downstairs tournament room at EPT Berlin

12.35pm: Three-barrel Abraham
Javed Abrahams is sitting to the left of Johnny Lodden but he just played out a hand with another player at his table, and he won it too. He three-bet from the small blind, bet the flop, bet 1,500 on the turn and 5,750 on the river. The final board read 6♠8♦2♥9♥K♥ and his opponent called all the way to the river before folding. -- MC

12.25pm: The middle floor
The situation for player on the main floor (to be known temporarily as the middle floor) has improved somewhat on yesterday, with a few inches stolen here and there to give players more room between tables. If you know where to find them there are discreet paths weaving all the way through the tournament room providing access to every nook and cranny.

In those nooks are the likes of Team Pro Liv, currently sharing a table with Tony G. In the crannies well, there's Andrea Benelli, Praz Bansi, Matt Affleck, recent WPT Bratislava winner Roberto Romanello (that's two, yes two legs of the triple Crown) as well as Team PokerStars Pros Johannes Strassmann, Johnny Lodden and SportStar Fatima Moreira de Melo. -- SB

12.20pm: Welcome to the top table(s)
Good afternoon, my name's Rick Dacey and I'll be your top floor host for the day...

Given that the tournament is split across three floors we've come to the surprisingly wise decision that taking a floor each may be the way to go (although Convey is already making excuses to avoid the tramp up and down the stairs). On my floor we have a host of big name players, most notably Team PokerStars SportStar Boris Becker whose table is currently surrounded by a scrum of camera crews. He has Team PokerStars Pro Jude 'j.thaddeus' Ainsworth a couple of seats to his left which will make the tennis ace's life a difficult one.

Other notable players include Team PokerStars Pros Luca Pagano and George Danzer, as well as EPT winner Jake Cody, who looks a little shocked at the best of times given his wild burst of jet black hair. He looked even more surprised when I almost walked into him turning the corner out of the tournament room as he rushed, late, to his seat. -- RD

12.15pm: Cards in the air
Play has started on Day 1B.

12.13pm: He's here all week
Tournament Director Thomas Kremser is making the introductions. Play should begin shortly. -- SB

12.05pm: Yep, thought so
We're a little late starting today with players still filing in. -- SB

11.59am: Gloria, Viva La Gloria
Gloria Balding presents Day 1B of EPT Berlin, ably assisted by Team PokerStars Pro Luca Pagano...


11.53pm: Welcome to Day 1B
Welcome back to live coverage of EPT Berlin. Today it's the turn of second flight and as predicted Day 1B will be a little on the large side. Yesterday 315 players took their seats across two floors. If I were to say we have three floors of tables in play today you might have an idea how busy today is going to be.

It harks back to EPT2 Dublin at the Merrion Casino in the Irish capital. Then, poker tables were crammed in between the gaming floors, bars and fire escapes (personally the three things I look for in any casino) in order to accommodate a large field which back then played start-to-finish in just two days. We were young and we were happy.

Today we salute that memory, playing in the same elbow-to-elbow fashion - nine levels, a 90 minute dinner break after six of them. You'll find live updates from start to finish right here.

It all gets under way in seven minutes apparently. We predict a slight delay. -- SB

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Confetti at the PokerStars welcome party two nights ago

PokerStars Blog reporting team in Berlin (in order of Bunga-Bunga parties attended): Stephen Bartley (0), Rick Dacey (0) and Marc Convey (0).